The Ledes

Friday, August 29, 2014.

New York Times: "Backed by Russian troops and weaponry, hundreds of Ukrainian rebel militiamen mobilized on Friday in [Novoazovsk, a] southeastern town, vacated by the Ukrainian military two days ago, and began to push toward the strategic seaport of Mariupol 27 miles away. The leader of the rebels called the advance a broad new effort to wrest control of a wide swath of coastal territory from the central government. ...

... Washington Post: "Russian President Vladimir Putin called on pro-Russian separatists to release trapped Ukrainian soldiers Friday, one day after Russian soldiers, tanks and heavy artillery began rolling into the southeastern part of the country in earnest, according to the Ukrainian government.... The Russian leader did not answer accusations from both the Ukrainian government and the West about Russia’s military presence in southeastern Ukraine. He praised the separatists instead....”

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Washington Post: "At least four hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State, including an American journalist who was recently executed by the group, were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity, according to people familiar with the treatment of the kidnapped Westerners."

New York Times: "Declaring that Russian troops had crossed into Ukraine, President Petro O. Poroshenko on Thursday canceled a planned visit to Turkey and convened a meeting of the national security council to focus on the 'marked aggravation of the situation' in the southeast of his country.The meeting of the national security council will focus on shaping a response, and Ukraine will also request a meeting of the United Nations Security Council." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Supported by NATO satellite imagery showing Russian forces on the move in eastern Ukraine, its president accused Russia on Thursday of an invasion to aid the separatists, and his national security council ordered mandatory conscription to help counter what he called an 'extremely difficult' threat."

Time: "In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a 'much bigger problem than anyone anticipated.' ... But Frieden says ... Ebola can be stopped.” ...

... New York Times: "As the tally of deaths from the worst known outbreak of the Ebola virus continued its seemingly inexorable rise, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the epidemic was still accelerating and could afflict more than 20,000 people — almost seven times the current number of reported cases — before it could be brought under control."

Public Service Announcement

New York Times, August 15: "The Food and Drug Administration has approved Avastin — made by Genentech, a unit of the Swiss drug maker Roche — for a new use against late-stage cervical cancer, the seventh indication for the biotech drug, which had global sales of $6.25 billion last year."

White House Live Video
August 29

11:30 am ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

... Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter interviews Jon Stewart, mostly on the making of his film "Rosewater," which is based on the arrest & incarceration of journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran in 2009.

AP: Actors "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in the French hamlet of Correns, a spokesman for the couple says. Jolie and Pitt wed in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends at Provence's Chateau Miraval. In advance of the nondenominational civil ceremony, Pitt and Jolie obtained a marriage license from a local California judge. The judge also conducted the ceremony in France."

No, he isn't. -- David Chase, in answer to the question, "Is Tony dead?" ...

... However, it's more complicated than that. Follow-up story, with Chase's response to the original Vox story by Margaret Nochimson, here.

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox discusses the final scene of "The Sopranos":

New York Times: "The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards was a win for broadcast and cable television, which earned numerous awards as the digital gate-crasher Netflix was nearly shut out. AMC’s 'Breaking Bad' scored big on Monday night, winning a total of five awards, including its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series. The crime drama, about a high school teacher who receives a diagnosis of lung cancer and starts selling crystal meth with a former student, concluded its final season." Here's the L.A. Times' coverage.

... Via Slate.

Looking for a bucolic retreat where the townspeople will protect you from curious outsiders? Got about $700K to burn? Then you might be interested in purchasing the former home of fiction writer J. D. Salinger. the property is located in Cornish, New Hamphire:

... Many more pix & a virtual tour here.

Kevin Roose of New York: "How to make $200MM in 28 months." CW: Yeah, I know. Twenty-eight months is a lo-o-o-ong time.

Stupid Wiki Tricks. Telegraph: "Wikimedia, the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to stop distributing his most famous shot for free – because a monkey pressed the shutter button and should own the copyright."

The Wrap: "James Corden is taking over for Craig Ferguson as host of 'The Late Late Show' on CBS, an individual with knowledge of the situation has told TheWrap.... Corden stars in Disney's 'Into the Woods' and can currently be seen alongside Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again.'”

John Oliver on "native advertising." Via Juan Cole:

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Sunday
Jul082012

The Commentariat -- July 9, 2012

My column in the New York Times eXaminer is titled "A Conservative Says Conservatives Are Happier than Liberals." The NYTX front page is here.

Ylan Mui of the Washington Post: "The implosion of the subprime lending market has left a scar on the finances of black Americans -- one that not only has wiped out a generation of economic progress but could leave them at a financial disadvantage for decades. At issue are the largely invisible but profoundly influential three-digit credit scores that help determine who can buy a car, finance a college education or own a home. The scores are based on consumers' financial history and suffer when they fall behind on their bills." CW: a particularly sordid chapter in the annals of our upside-down moral code: the most vulnerable suffer the most; the perps drive their Bentleys to Rmoney fundraisers in the Hamptons. ...

... Yes, We Still Have Slaves. New York Times Editors: "When companies [like WalMart] force suppliers to slash costs, corners will be cut and workers will be abused. Congress and the Department of Labor need to make sure that sprawling supply chains and profits are not built upon the systematic erosion of workplace conditions and laborers’ rights."

Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times: "In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations. The cellphone carriers' reports, which come in response to a Congressional inquiry, document an explosion in cellphone surveillance in the last five years.... The reports also reveal a sometimes uneasy partnership with law enforcement agencies, with the carriers frequently rejecting demands that they considered legally questionable or unjustified. At least one carrier even referred some inappropriate requests to the F.B.I."

Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post: an April 20 auto crash that killed three U.S. Army commandos & three female prostitutes "exposed a team of Special Operations forces that had been working for months in Mali, a Saharan country racked by civil war and a rising Islamist insurgency. More broadly, the crash has provided a rare glimpse of elite U.S. commando units in North Africa, where they have been secretly engaged in counterterrorism actions against al-Qaeda affiliates."

Jan Crawford at CBS News: "Discord at the Supreme Court is deep and personal after Chief Justice John Roberts' surprise decision to side with the liberal justices in upholding a large portion of the president's health care plan.... This conflict has been brewing for some time. You can trace it back to the first full term of the new Roberts Court." ...

... Jonathan Peters in Slate: "The court has a long and colorful history of leaks that dates back to the mid-19th century. Just like last week, leaks have sprung in the past commenting on a decision soon after the justices released it. Inside accounts of the personal relationships among the justices have long been served up to journalists. Indeed, some court opinions have leaked even before the justices had a chance to announce them."

Philip Caulfield of the New York Daily News: "A member of Jordan's parliament pulled a gun on one of his critics during a fiery debate on live TV last week. The parliament member, identified by the Times of Israel as Mohammed Shawabka, was arguing about Jordan's policies toward the uprising in Syria with a political activist named Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad." CW: maybe it's just as well are Sunday talkshows are just innocuous B.S. with video. ...

... AND, speaking of people who should not be on Sunday talkshows. Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "On ABC News' This Week this morning, [George] Will resumed his crusade against science, this time trying to blame the record heat wave spreading across America on an ordinary summer.... The fact that Will is so completely incapable of adapting to new information — not to mention his record of printing pure falsehoods -- raises serious questions about why the Washington Post continues to publish him." With video.

In a local newspaper op-ed, Elizabeth Warren pushes the Affordable Care Act & pushes back against GOP plans to repeal it. Via Greg Sargent. CW: why can't Obama be more like Warren?

Your Politico Democratic Scandalette for Today. Alex Isenstadt: Democratic operatives are "stalking" Republican Congressional candidates & taking pictures & videos of their fancy houses.

Where Are They Now? Would you want this guy operating on you? Well, he grew up, so to speak, to be a doctor AND a U.S. Senator. Answer in yesterday's Commentariat.

Presidential Race

** Paul Krugman contrasts George Romney and Mitt Rmoney, presidential candidates. It's a great column. ...

... CW: when my grandmother was a teenager, she came across some papers in the attic that showed the family were descended from English royalty. My grandmother was thrilled and asked her mother why she had never been told of her famous forebears. Great Grandmama sniffed, "Because we don't want to let people know how far down we've come." Well, look how far down the Romneys came in just one generation.

M. J. Lee & Byron Tau of Politico: "Democrats took to the Sunday shows to attack Mitt Romney's foreign financial dealings, drawing attention to the Republican candidate's Swiss bank account to try to promote his wealthy, out-of-touch businessman persona." ...

... Ditto from Pema Levy of TPM, with some good quotes.

Sometimes Ads Work. Susan Page of USA Today on a USA Today/Gallup poll: "In the battleground [states], one in 12 say the commercials have changed their minds about President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney -- a difference on the margins, but one that could prove crucial.... Obama is the clear winner in the ad wars. Among swing-state voters who say the ads have changed their minds about a candidate, rather than just confirmed what they already thought, 76% now support the president, vs. 16% favoring Romney."

Michael Barbaro & Sarah Wheaton of the New York Times report on Rmoney's fabulous fundraisers in the Hamptons. My favorite vignettes:

Rich People Are Important. A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney. 'Is there a V.I.P. entrance? We are V.I.P.'

Rich People Are Charitable to the Needy. Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, long a favorite of the Hamptons' well-off and well-known, could barely contain his displeasure with Mr. Obama. 'He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn't exist and get government to intervene,' Mr. Conklin said from inside a gold Mercedes, as his wife, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement. Ms. Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit. 'Tell them who's on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!' Over Mr. Conklin’s objections, Ms. Simmons disclosed that a major executive from Miramax was on Mr. Conklin's 75-foot yacht, because, she said, there were no rooms left at the hotel.

... AND Yet Another Marie Antoinette. Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times reports on the events. "The common person" doesn't understand that "Obama is hurting them." ...

... Zandar of Balloon Juice: "On one level, she's right. We're just too dumb to get how we've been mauled economically by people in Range Rovers with East Hampton beach permits." ...

... Charles Pierce: "The people waiting in line to help Willard Romney hand the country back to what they perceive to be its rightful owners simply do... not... care [what happens to other people]. The fact that this is a bad political message is the least of its horrors." ...

... So these people, who also live on Long Island, did not go to a single one of the Rmoney bashes. This documentary airs on HBO at 9 pm ET:

... AP: "Mitt Romney privately raised millions of dollars from New York's elite on Sunday, as Democrats launched coordinated attacks against the likely Republican presidential nominee, intensifying calls for him to explain offshore bank accounts and release several years of tax returns." ...

... Nicole Fuller of Newsday: "About 150 protesters demonstrated outside a Southampton fundraiser Sunday for likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the home of New York businessman David Koch, chanting 'We are the 99 percent' and 'Money out, voters in.'" ...

... Brendan O'Reilly of Southampton Patch: "Two boaters in waters off The Creeks, billionaire Ronald Perelman's 57-acre East Hampton Village estate — where Mitt Romney was scheduled to be present for a campaign fundraiser — were arrested Sunday afternoon when they failed to comply with police orders, according to police." ...

... Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "and the Republican National Committee raised $106.1 million in June, a substantial increase in Mr. Romney's fund-raising pace and a sign of the growing competitiveness of the battle for campaign dollars against President Obama."

Sheldon Alberts: "A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama's first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership." CW: what this poll really shows is that Americans think the president has a lot more power than he has. Plus, the questions are pretty loaded.

News Ledes

President Obama speaks about extending tax cuts to middle-class families:

New York Times: "The Justice Department on Monday unsealed the indictment of five people in the killing of a Border Patrol agent whose death was linked to the disputed gun-trafficking investigation called Operation Fast and Furious. Four of the defendants are fugitives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $1 million reward for any information that leads to their capture."

New York Times: "With Spain's borrowing costs climbing again to critical levels, European finance ministers decided early Tuesday to speed up their promised bailout for the country's troubled banks, while also giving the cash-tight government more time to rein in its budget deficit."

New York Times: "Within hours of Lance Armstrong's filing of a lawsuit Monday that sought to block the United States Anti-Doping Agency from punishing him for doping violations it has charged him with, a federal judge in Austin, Tex., struck the suit down, dealing Armstrong a swift and smarting blow in his hometown."

New York Times: "In an unmistakable message to China delivered in a speech from this neighboring country [Mongolia], Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that economic success without meaningful political reform was unsustainable, an equation that would ultimately lead to instability."

New York Times: "President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt on Sunday unexpectedly ordered the country's Islamist-led Parliament to reconvene, challenging earlier decisions by Egypt's most powerful generals and judges to dissolve the legislative body."

Guardian: "Libya's former interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril has won a landslide victory in the country's first democratic election, provisional figures show, defying expectations that the Muslim Brotherhood would sweep to power."

AP: "All six troops killed in a weekend roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan were Americans, NATO confirmed Monday. German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, disclosed their nationalities at a briefing, but said he could not provide other details about the incident because it was still under investigation. He said a seventh NATO service member killed Sunday in a separate insurgent attack in the south also was an American."

AP: "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has given his permission for the exhumation of the remains of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, a top aide said Monday, days after a Swiss institute reported finding elevated traces of a radioactive substance on the late leader's belongings."

Reuters: "Russia's emergencies minister accused local officials on Monday of not doing enough to prevent 171 deaths in weekend floods that raised new doubts about the country's readiness for natural disasters under President Vladimir Putin."

Al Jazeera: "International envoy Kofi Annan has said he agreed with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on an 'approach' to end Syria's conflict that would be put to the rebels."

Reader Comments (13)

Marie's column today on the "happiness" syndrome is well worth a read. Yesterday,after I read the piece in the Times that she is referring to I thought how man keeps trying, over and over, to fit us all into categories––trying to make sense of the human condition. It also reminded me of this:

Some time ago my husband and I were discussing the word happy because he had categorized me as as a happy woman. I told him I certainly would not define myself as that–-how could I be truly happy when I was knowledgeable of all the suffering in the world, but that I did have moments of pure joy––Well, he countered, you seem happy to me. I then reminded him of the time when he was waiting for me pool side after we had had a swim and I had left to start dinner and fix our gin and tonics. I put some olive oil in a cast iron pan to heat––left the kitchen to do something else and when I returned the pan was in flames and the flames were scorching the ceiling. Don’t recall how I put the fire out but I moved like someone in a Max Sennett film: Scrubbed down the ceiling, stove and pan–––started all over again–and after the sauce was simmering, got the two drinks put together, put them on a tray and was on my way down to the pool. As I was coming down the stairs, he looked up at me, a big smile on his face and said, “Now here’s a happy woman!” So see, I say to him now, you thought I was happy, but that is NOT what I was feeling. Well, he repeats, you have a wonderful disposition. Now, that’s more like it, I say, so I guess we could call me cheerful, for lack of a better word. We have since made a joke of this–––he’ll say, “Here’s some good news–––it won’t make you happy, but it sure as heck will cheer you up.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

P.S. " The fact that Will is so completely incapable of adapting to new information — not to mention his record of printing pure falsehoods — raises serious questions about why the Washington Post continues to publish him." Not only does George believe global warming is a myth he must be one of those conservatives that rate high on the happiness scale. When you live in your own IDEA of the world, why, by golly, you can be happier than an elephant rolling in sand on a scorching hot day.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Marie,

Excellent rebuttal to a butthead.

I read this tripe yesterday and thought I'd take a crack at it today but your arrows hit dead center so there's no need.

But I have to say that right-wing think tanks certainly try to cover the waterfront, they don't miss any angles; and they make sure to bring a lot of that waterfront fog with them wherever they go. I recall reading another report on happiness by AEI’s cousin in ideology, the Cato Institute. In that study, If memory serves, the gist was that any attempt to identify true happiness was pretty much doomed because of the many conflicting definitions of that quality. For instance, if liberal thinkers tried to suggest that happiness had something to do with food on the table, a roof over the head and a job that paid better than slave wages with no benefits, Cato cast a jaundiced eye upon such frippery as being redolent of income redistribution. A big fat no-no in the happiness department.

But after further thought, they decided that owning a Bentley, a house in the Hamptons and having the type of income one might expect from an executive position at Bain Capital, shall we say, could make one very happy indeed. Especially if such goodies could be enjoyed without having to worry about the little people or civic responsibilities. So, you see? At least according to Cato, money DOES equal happiness.

And according to that calculus, there must have been happiness like you read about this past weekend in the aforementioned Hamptons. Plenty of VIPs vying for special parking privileges, all ready to hob their nobs with Willard the Rat and his new buddy, the big Koch.

And speaking of happiness, Willard, the Kochs, ideology, and money, it occurred to me that Willard, famous for his pliable philosophy about, well, pretty much anything except gays and money, by getting into bed with the Kochs, might just as well come out and put that sign on his head “For Sale”. I read somewhere that Willard was meeting with the Kochs only to try to get them on his side of things. Now who really believes that Willard has the passion, powers of persuasion, moral muscle or ideological authority to sway the Kochs? Not to mention the fact that no one seems to know what exactly IS Willard’s side. The only things he believes in are money and power. Oh, did I mention money?

The better bet would be that the Kochs, in short order, will hold up a big check and make Willard get on all fours, bark like a doggie and beg to do anything he is ordered to do. Then they’ll put him in a carrier and strap him to the roof of their luxury SUV for a trip to the White House, stopping every few hours to hose him down after he craps his pants.

But he’ll be happy. Money will make it so. But no taxes. Never, never, never. Cato says no one will be happy then.

So all those little people out of work, no insurance, no unemployment, no nothing, can watch all of this on the TV that’s about to be repossessed because they don’t get to be happy. If they were moral and all, like conservatives, it might be different.

Anyway, thanks, Marie, for outing the statistics of the other Brooks for the cherry picked mumbo jumbo they are.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: I'm so happy my face hurts from smiling. I'm not a happy guy; but I know from personal experience and book learning I'm one of the luckiest men to have ever roamed the planet. I love my fellow kind but I'm a traitor to my species; don't trust'em, never have. My species is busily destroying the Earth without so much as a "What the Fuck?". So before turning to Marie's column I'll wager that the conservative is happier than the liberal because he or she is a selfish turd concerned with only the face in the mirror and little else. The true key to happiness is doing something for someone other than ones self and getting satisfaction out of the deed and nothing else.
P.D. All the women I've had the joy of living with would have handed me my drink and said, "The kitchen's on fire." You went the extra mile, no wonder you are a cheerful person.
"You can't always get what you want. No, you can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes...".

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Count me as yet another happy liberal----especially after learning this morning that Elizabeth Warren raised $8.67 million last quarter, 80% of it from donations $50 and less (yes, I've given a few of those). Marie, get your check warmed up, it's looking good in Massachusetts!

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Calyban: Thanks for sharing this extremely happiness- inducing information about Elizabeth Warren. Here's to Massachusetts!

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Re Re: Ok, Finished up Marie's sweater yarn pullout of yet another bit of B.S. from the right. In truth conservatives are happy because they refuse see past the end of their noses. Great, I'm happy for them. The pursuit of happiness is not the same as contentment. I wonder how the datum would read if the question asked was, " Are you content in your own life?"
I have a good friend who invented a medical device that made him a millionaire hundreds of times over. He's a one percenter that has a social conscience. There is nothing he can not have or do. He tells me that the happiest time of his life was when he was in pursuit of his dream. The realization of his dream brought him untold wealth and all the trappings that go with it; greed, envy, spite and jealousy. As my father used to say, "Only morons are happy all the time."

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@P. D. Pepe & @Akhilleus: I did think about the possibility that "it depends upon what the meaning of happiness is," & I considered it exactly along the lines that P. D. Pepe brings up -- that is, maybe liberals can't describe themselves as "very happy" -- which was the nub of the question in the Pew survey -- when they are aware of so much suffering in the world. However, respondents in the Napier & Jost studies -- which tracked with the Pew poll -- were asked more narrow questions about "life satisfaction," which I think respondents of any political persuasion would probably view thru more-or-less the same lens.

As for George Will, he is a smug, self-satisfied, narrow-minded bastard. I don't think of him as happy. He did express a high level of schadenfreude, however, when the Pew study was published, after observing that "Conservatives are happier than liberals because they are more pessimistic." See, they're never disappointed & they don't put their faith in government. "Liberalism," on the other hand, "is a complicated and exacting, not to say grim and scolding, creed. And not one conducive to happiness." His explanation of the Pew results is worth a read just as a reminder of how distorted conservative thinking can be.

Would George Will actually describe himself as "very happy"? I have no idea. But if being the surliest know-it-all on the teevee & printed page is what makes him happy, then I guess he'd grit his teeth, force the corners of his lips upward and snarl, "I'm very happy."

@JJG: I'd try to put out the fire AND call for help simultaneously. P. D. Pepe sure bests me.

July 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

All you happy libruls remember one thing. Those happy red necks with the happy, ignorant, and poorly informed reelected the worst President in recent history. The same happy groups are ready to elect Willard We will see how happy the ignoramuses will be with a couple of years of Willard and the tea party running things.
Willard will have a ring in his nose and will be yanked around by the wing nuts.
My guess is all those happy conservatives will be whimpering and crying and wondering how Obama did this to them. No red neck ever admits to any failure. Consequently, they never learn anything.
Unfortunately, a few million of us will suffer also and another generation of young Americans will be damaged.
I am not happy and neither should you be. It is written.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Yes, cheers to Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and her supporters! Keep the donations coming!

I read the happiness piece and at least got a (rueful) laugh from it. Right now this liberal household is very happy to have power, phone, internet and reasonable temperatures back after a week in climate change hell from the derrecho (new vocabulary word for us) knocked our community--metro Columbus OH--for a loop. The ordeal made me feel almost as much claustrophobia as the presidential campaign. Trying to catch up on my reading while waiting a bit nervously for an estimate from the tree surgeons.

Any good news about Elizabeth Warren is welcome. I find myself more invested in her campaign than Obama's.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston

My Little MSM Expose for the Day (from Video Blogs Cafe) :


Martin Bashir Exposes Luke Russert as Water Carrier for Congressional Republicans

..."In the wake of President Obama calling for the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses making under $250,000 and the Republicans predictable response, which is to claim the tax increase will harm small businesses, MSNBC's Martin Bashir attempted to get his cohort, Luke Russert to admit the Republican leadership was fighting to the 2 percent and the 3 percent.

And he didn't have much luck getting an answer. After asking Russert three times whether he agreed with the sentiment or not, the most Bashir got out of him was some mealy mouthed response that if Bashir wants an answer to his questions, he'd better get John Boehner or Mitch McConnell on his show to ask them himself.

Bashir did get Russet to admit their rhetoric was all spin and talking points, and little more than election year rhetoric to throw red meat to their base, and accuse the Democrats of wanting to raise taxes. It seems little Luke is a whole lot more worried about keeping that access to Congressional Republicans than heaven forbid saying anything that might offend them. Bashir laid that bare when he continued pushing Russert to answer his question on who they were protecting by refusing to cooperate on the middle class tax cuts they're holding hostage for their tax cuts for the rich.

Since Russert is the one from the network with access to the GOP leadership Bashir told him he'd have to "suffice to take the beating." Russert couldn't resist getting in a cheap shot at Bashir about his Michael Jackson interview. Keep it classy there Luke. Russert seems to be learning his lessons well on how to be the next Karl Rove dance partner, David Gregory clone for the network."

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Luke is a chip off the old block. His father's coverage of the Democratic primary in 2008 was a disgraceful display of water carrying for the anti-Hillary crowd. Luke behaves like an insolent puppy, which is just what I can hear Bashir calling him.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston
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